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Rural Internet

Starlink Beta. Thoughts

I have been on the Starlink beta list for about a year now. While I am going to try and make the 4G work (because I have no choice), once the deal closes I will also put my deposit down for the Starlink beta. It looks like the minimum wait for the service will be about six months from the date of signup.

Starlink is one of many startup satellite internet service providers coming online in the next few years. This is going to cause a major shift in terrestrial internet offerings. Elon Musk is lighting a fire under every and all current internet providers. From dial up to fiber, from 3G to 5G wireless. Starlink and the other service offerings from other providers. This is likely to shift the amount of work being put into 4G and 5G wireless offerings for rural services.

Pricing for Starlink Beta is set at $99.00 a month with no data caps. Compared to most terrestrial connections this is not an excellent deal by any means, but compared to wireless (4G / 5G) that typically include ridiculously low data caps, this is an absolute bargain. The catch here being of course that for Starlink you need a hefty sized dish and quite a bit of electricity to power, so comparing that to 4/5G wireless is not really fair either.

Right now the bigger problem with Starlink appears to be coverage. The United States and even more so Canada has coverage / line of sight to Starlink satellites for service. The problem is that with the current number of satellites deployed there is not coverage for 100% of the day. Here around Houston Texas I would get coverage 75% of the day. As each payload of satellites are blasted into space this will eventually fill out to 100%. In Canada they are already closer to that number. You can use this awesome tool to look at estimated coverage in your area.

I look forward to Starlink, but more for the friction it will cause in the 4/5G wireless space. For incredibly remote places Starlink will be a godsend as it will be for semi-rural dwellers in the short term.

Thank you Elon for once again for screwing up monopolies and forcing people to follow your lead.

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